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“Magic is just like love, Allai. It won’t wait for permission before it destroys you.”

Like sand in an hourglass, Allai’s future is dwindling away. She’s spent her entire life fighting the Mages who threaten humanity, and dreams of someday eradicating magic. But all it takes is an anonymous phone call for the truth to spill out: Allai is the one thing she despises most.

She’s a Mage.

Though ancient law mandates Allai’s death, she still has one last chance of survival. His name is Drake Rhaize, and he swears he can lead Allai to a sanctuary for Mages. Allai hasn’t seen Drake in years, but she remembers him as the demon boy who used to hold her close and softly whisper that he’d keep her safe. But Drake has changed since then: He’s now suspected of murder, and has been out-casted for betraying his own kind.

While Allai doesn’t trust Drake, she has no choice but to put her life in his hands and hope he can get her to safety. Because Allai’s father has hired a pack of Demons to bring her back to him, dead or alive, and demons never stop the hunt.

3 out of 5 stars

Okay, first off, I loved this book. Really, I did. The premise, the storyline, the mythology—it is definitely something new and a series to watch. Unfortunately, there were some issues I had with the female lead, Allai, that I strongly disliked and for that, I must begrudgingly subtract from my rating. However, it was a good mix of suspense, “aww” moments, mystery, and action. I greatly enjoyed it and am anticipating the sequel in December.

The plot:

As I said, there was suspense, mystery, action, and romance bundled together in a beautiful package. I read this at an airport/on the plane and it certainly kept me entertained. I became very caught up in the characters’ struggles and experienced one of those tormented conflicts when I realized that there wasn’t enough space by the end for everything to happen that I wanted to happen.

The characters:

Like I said, I had a few problems with Allai. They were problems that could have been very easily fixed, but I felt they were too large to overlook. There is only one scene where Allai puts up a genuine fight and bests her opponent , but while his back is turned and he’s fighting someone else. The rest of the time she is mostly rescued. I would have had absolutely no problem with that if it hadn’t been pre-established that she’d had extensive combat training—which she never seems to use. She also completely falls apart when she is rejected by her adoptive family and thrown into exile. I could understand being heartbroken and needing to grieve, but after awhile I was thinking pull yourself together, girl. The one thing that I could not forgive was her incessant screaming. I feel harsh saying it, but it seemed like she screamed at every little thing and I just have the impression that a girl who’s been raised by stoic, aloof demons would have a little more steel in her nerves. Other than those details, I think I liked Allai over all and certainly don’t wish her character ill.

Drake was my favorite. Yes, that might be typical of me to favor the love interest, but Drake was one of those characters it’s hard not to like. He has a smart mouth, a disrespect for authority, and a few dire anger management issues, but a hidden vulnerability and almost boyishness that makes me want to hug him (or maybe not, since he doesn’t do hugs with anyone but Allai). I think he may have been the dominant perspective, but I’d have to go back and read it again.

The villain(s) are gorgeously nasty and Ms. Rivers’ created some original and utterly terrifying monsters to populate her story. I can’t talk about all the bad guys, because that would be spoiler-ific, but I will say that here we have multiple antiheroes and plenty of poisonous fangs, claws, and wings!

All in all, this is a good story. I think it could have easily made five stars if the issues with Allai’s character had been fixed, but all the same, I eagerly anticipate Fire Soul coming next month.

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